As our four-legged companions get older, we want to find the best senior dog food to make them thrive even in their golden years. We want them to gobble it up and digest it well. We want shiny coats, bright eyes and lots of energy to show us our dogs are happy, healthy and ready to live a long life.
Today, we are going to talk about five of the best senior dog food for your dogs. We are going to break down some of the ingredients in the food, as well as give you the overall ingredient make-up.
You will also read a summary of the positive and negative things people had to say about each of the products so you can get a general idea of how well (or poorly) the vegan dog food performed for their dogs.
Let’s get started, shall we!
Best Senior Dry Dog Food
Best Senior Dog Food - Small Breeds
Best Senior Dog Food - Large Breeds
Best Dry Dog Food For Senior Dogs
Winner: Hill’s Science Diet Senior Dog Food
The Hill’s Science Diet Senior Dog Food was formulated in the 1960s by Dr. Mark Morris who was the son of Dr. Mark Morris Sr. who created a specialized diet for the very first seeing-eye dog who suffered from a kidney disease.
The duo went on to formulate other recipes that would treat dogs who suffer from other conditions. They also created life-stage formulas. This dog food is an example of those life-stage formulas.
The first ingredient in this food is chicken meal, which has 300% more protein than fresh chicken, making it a quality ingredient.
The next few ingredients (brown rice, wheat, corn, sorghum, barley, and barley) do not provide much by way of nutritional value.
They do, however, provide your dog with a boost of energy and dietary fiber to help with their digestive health. Pork fat, which is the eighth ingredient, does provide a significant amount of natural flavor, as well as the omega-6 fatty acid, linoleic acid.
Ingredient make-up of the Hill’s Science Diet Senior Dog Food (Chicken Meal, Rice, and Barley) consists of:
When looking at what people had to say about the Hill’s Science Diet Senior Dog Food, they had great things to say. Customers appreciated that this food gave their older dogs more energy the longer they ate it. One customer said they have two Labradors who used to be very energetic.
When they got older, their energy levels naturally declined and the dogs no longer enjoyed long walks or playing. Their owner gave them this food, and within a few months, the dogs were back to being playful and energetic.
Another customer reported their dog was having mobility issues, but after eating the food for several months, their dog is able to get around much more easily.
There were other customers who were disappointed in this dog food and left critical reviews of it. There were few dogs with sensitive stomachs that did not digest this food well. There were also people who said their dogs didn’t care for the food and would only eat it if it was mixed with canned food or some other mix-in.
Runner Up: Canidae Grain Free Senior Dry Dog Food
The Canidae dog food is relatively new company, opening in 1996. The brand focuses a lot on creating high-quality dog food that uses nutritious ingredients. The Canidae Grain Free Senior Dry Dog Food is an example of this, as it uses chicken and menhaden fish meal as their first two ingredients.
The chicken, when cooked down, is only going to be a fraction of the original weight, which means the protein content is going to be less, but the fish meal supplements this because it has 300% more protein than just regular meat.
Peas and lentils are the next two ingredients. Both of these ingredients are a grain-free carbohydrate that is rich in fiber but also contains a 25% protein, which helps to increase the overall protein ratio. Potatoes are the fifth ingredient, and while it doesn’t offer much nutritional value, it is an easily digestible carbohydrate.
The next two ingredients are whole dried egg and chicken fat. These two ingredients offer valuable nutrients that elderly dogs need for energy and their overall well-being.
Ingredient make-up of the Canidae Grain Free Senior Dry Dog Food (Fresh Chicken) consists of:
When looking at what people had to say about the Canidae Grain Free Senior Dry Dog Food, they had great things to say. Customers were happy that this dog food contains high-quality, nutritious ingredients.
Several people commented that their dogs are no longer picky eaters, as they “love” this food. Some commented they used to have to mix in some kind of wet food for their dog to eat their dry food, but with this food, they don’t have to.
Other customers reported they had dogs with finicky bowel movements or they had skin irritations due to a grain allergy. When they gave this food to their dogs, not only did they stop itching and their bowel movements have regulated, but they noticed their dogs were more energetic, their coats were shinier, and their dogs acted happier.
On the other side of the coin, there were some people who were less pleased with this food. Several people were upset that they have been giving this food to their dog for quite some time, but the price had doubled over the last few months, making it a very expensive dog food.
Other people didn’t take issue with the price, but what the food did to their dogs. One customer reported their dog’s breath was very off putting after eating the food. Another commented their dog had bad gas, loose stool or diarrhea.
Alternative: Nutro Wholesome Essentials Senior Dry Dog Food
Nutro Wholesome Essentials Senior Dry Dog Food is created by Mars Petcare Inc. and the food is AAFCO approved, which means the dog food meets the AAFCO dog food nutrient guidelines for adult dogs.
The first two ingredients in this product are chicken and chicken meal.
Although chicken is a quality ingredient, after it is cooked, it is going to lose 70% of its moisture, making the meat content less.
However, since there is chicken meal (which has 300% more protein in it than regular meat) as the second ingredient, the overall protein content in this food is acceptable.
The next few ingredients includes brown rice (complex carb that provides energy and is easily digestible), sorghum (starchy cereal grain that has a nutrient profile like corn), and peas (good source of fiber and contains around 25% protein, adding to the overall protein count).
There is also brewers rice (not a lot of nutritional value) and rice bran (contains protein, fats, minerals, and vitamins). Then, as the eighth ingredient in the food, you will find chicken fat, which is high in omega-6 fatty acids.
Ingredient make-up of the Nutro Wholesome Essentials Senior Dry Dog Food (Chicken) consists of:
When looking at what people had to say about the Nutro Wholesome Essentials Senior Dry Dog Food, they had great things to say. Customers liked that the pieces are small enough for small dogs to eat without worrying about choking.
People also commented that picky eaters would gobble up the food with no problems, and one person even said their dog who didn’t eat very much now has better eating habits because they like the food.
In terms of piece size, the food is small enough for those with sensitive teeth, but if your dog has trouble, one customer suggests adding a little bit of warmed chicken broth to help make it easier to chew.
Sadly, not everyone had positive things to say about their experience with this food. Some people commented they have been giving this food to their senior dogs for years, but recently, their dogs don’t want to eat it. These customers believe the formula has changed. One person pointed out that the size of the food used to be larger.
Now, the food is so small, they worry their dog will not chew the food, which could cause them to choke. Also, the smaller size food isn’t suitable for cleaning their dog’s teeth like the older, larger sized food.
Best Senior Dog Food – Small Breeds
Blue Buffalo BLUE Senior Dog Food
The Blue Buffalo company has been creating quality dog food for pets of all ages since 2002. With this product, the company uses natural ingredients like chicken and chicken meal (which has 300% more protein than just chicken!) as their first two ingredients, which are excellent sources of protein, which is something every dog needs.
The food also features “Life Source Bits” that are packed with active nutrients and antioxidants that have undergone a “cold forming” process that protects the nutrients your dog needs to be healthy.
Other ingredients found in this food include brown rice, barley, and oatmeal.
The brown rice doesn’t provide much by way of nutrients, but it is an excellent source of energy that elderly dogs need. The barley and oatmeal are good sources of fiber and other key nutrients.
Chicken fat is listed as the sixth ingredient, and although it may not sound appealing to us, the chicken fat is a great source of linoleic acid – an omega-6 fatty acid that is necessary to live.
Ingredient make-up of the Blue Buffalo Senior Dog Food (Chicken and Brown Rice) consists of:
When looking at what people had to say about the Blue Buffalo Senior Dog Food, they had great things to say. Customers said they were able to see a noticeable difference in their dog after giving them the food for a short time.
When put on the food for an extended period of time (one customer reported giving the food to her dog for 3 years), signs of arthritis seemed to have reversed, their dog wasn’t limping anymore, bowel movements have decreased, and even flatulence wasn’t a problem anymore.
On the other end, there were a small group of customers who said the dog food did not work for their pup. In fact, some people stated the food actually made their dog sick. Some said they thought it may have been because they had a bad bag.
Best Senior Dog Food – Large Breed
IAMS ProActive Health Mature Dry Dog Food
The IAMS company has been creating wet and dry dog food, treats, and health-related products for more than 70 years. The trusted brand is available in stores around the country, as well as online.
The recipe for mature dogs was designed to provide senior dogs the nutrition they need for healthier bones, teeth, and joints, while giving them a stronger immune and digestive system.
The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken. Although chicken is a great ingredient, when it is cooked down, it is reduced to a mere fraction of its original weight. This means it isn’t an adequate source of protein on its own. Another source of protein doesn’t appear until the fourth ingredient, which is chicken byproduct meal.
This meal is made from slaughterhouse remnants, which usually consists of organ meat, feet, beaks, and other non-prime cuts of muscle meat. The second and third ingredients are corn and sorghum – both of which do not offer much nutritional value.
Ingredient make-up of the IAMS ProActive Health Mature Dry Dog Food (Senior Plus – Large Breed) consists of:
When looking at what people had to say about the IAMS ProActive Health Mature Dry Dog Food, they had great things to say. Customers reported seeing positive changes in their dog after being on this dog food for a few weeks. People noticed their picky eater dogs would happily gobble down the food.
Some went on to say that they noticed their dog’s bowel movements were smaller than they used to be when they were eating another food. One customer also commented their dog used to suffer from allergies, but when they switched over to this food, those allergies seemed to disappear pretty quickly.
At the other end of the review spectrum, there were a handful of people who felt this dog food didn’t do anything to help their dog. These disappointed customers reported the food caused their dog’s coat to be less shiny, but their dog also developed dry skin that caused excessive itching.
What To Look For When Choosing The Best Senior Dog Food
Trying to choose which dog food is the best senior dry dog food can be overwhelming. After all, you want to make sure you give your dog the best of the best. The trick is ignore the best senior dog food reviews and think about what your dog needs.
With that aside, here are some things you’ll want to take into consideration before buying.
The breed and size of your dog is going to play a factor in what kind of dog food you get because a small dog isn’t going to be a “senior” at the same age as a large dog. Large dogs will cross the senior threshold sooner than a small dog because they don’t live as long.
Also, bigger dogs will sometimes have joint pain or arthritis, and you may be able to find food that will help remedy these problems.
Dry Vs. Wet
If budget is a concern, you will find that dry food (or kibble) tend to be the preferred dog food type because they are affordable and they are convenient.
Wet food, on the other hand, is an excellent option because you can usually see the ingredients used (unless you get a pâté and everything is all pureed together). Unfortunately, this guide does not include options for the best canned dog food for senior dogs.
The most common allergy dogs have is a grain allergy which causes the dog’s skin to become dry and itchy. We recommend that before you switch to a grain-free food, you check with your vet, as they’ll probably have recommendations or they may tell you other reasons why your dog may be having food issues.
Older dogs won’t need as much food as younger dogs, so you can get away with giving them smaller quantities of food, but still adhere to a feeding schedule.
There are specially formulated senior dog foods that have fewer calories per serving, while having enough protein and fat to keep them healthy. Fiber is another important nutrient because older dogs will have problems with constipation.
There are some people who will give their dogs additional supplements to help support joint health, improve the digestive and immune systems, and more.
Sometimes you can find dog foods with supplements added to the recipe to treat whatever health conditions your dog may be experiencing. It’s important to talk to your dog’s vet to determine what supplements (if any) will be good for your dog.
Locally Sourced Ingredients
Locally sourced ingredients shouldn’t necessarily be a deciding factor in choosing your dog’s food. But, if it is, you can find companies that use organic or locally sourced ingredients. You may have to do a little bit of research beforehand because not companies will indicate where the ingredients come from.
Dog food is one of those things that is going to have to change throughout your dog’s life. The food you gave them a few years ago when they were still considered an adult and not a senior may not be suitable depending on how their dietary needs have changed.
All of the dry dog food we’ve covered today are pretty good options, but we feel that in order to truly find the best senior dog food, you will need to consult your pet’s veterinarian first. Your vet will be able to tell you if your dog needs a specialty food, or if you can give them a dog food that is easily accessible and doesn’t require a prescription.